It’s amazing how things escalate. I had a very small problem: I didn’t know where my Harry’s razor blades were. I knew they were in the cabinet under the sink, but because of the disarray I couldn’t find them. I tried this morning but gave up; I figured the blade I was using had at least one more shave in it.
Tonight, after brushing my teeth, I was about to go to bed when I decided to have one more look. I opened the cabinet and started digging through the jumble of towels and washcloths. I found the blades — and then I noticed that some of the washcloths were wet. Huh? How did that happen?
I kept digging. More and more of them were wet, and some appeared to be mildewy. It looked like there was a slow leak coming from the sink above, but I couldn’t find any sign of wetness or water damage anywhere else; just wet washcloths. It was apparently a very slow and intermittent leak, one that had gradually soaked the washcloths, which had prevented the water from reaching the wood underneath.
I could have stopped there. I almost did; I decided I would just clear out the cabinet and keep an eye on it, and if the leak happened again I’d hopefully spot it. But I decided to have a closer look, now that the cabinet was empty and I had an unobstructed view. And then I saw it: drip. A drop of water fell from the valve on the cold-water line. It had been dripping straight from the copper pipe down to the stack of washcloths, which is why nothing else was wet.
I could have stopped there. It was a slow leak. A towel underneath, or a small bucket, would have kept it contained until I had time to deal with it. But no, I figured: let me see if I can just shut off the water. And so I grabbed the little handle on the valve and turned. The valve that already had something wrong with it.
So of course, instead of shutting off the water, it just made the leak worse. Now, instead of an occasional drip, I had a steady trickle. This wasn’t good.
Did I stop there?
No, I went and got a pair of pliers and turned the valve some more. The flow of water increased.
So here it is, midnight. On a night when the roads here in central North Carolina are hazardous because of an unusual late-winter storm. A plastic bin under the sink is gradually filling with water, and when it’s full, I’ll pour it out. And I will either keep doing that all night, or more likely I’ll just shut off the water to the entire house before going to bed. A plumber is coming tomorrow, sometime between 8 AM and Noon; the roads won’t be fully thawed yet, so I won’t be surprised if he charges me hazard pay.
All things considered, I was better off not knowing where my razor blades were.